Second inquiry into 2003 Folbigg conviction – what’s the hurry?

Andrew L. Urban.

We report (sourced with thanks from The Australian, May 18, 2022) and comment (in red) on the latest development in this case. 

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman has announced that an inquiry will be held in relation to the case of convicted child killer Kathleen Folbigg.

About time…a sense of urgency is clearly absent in our criminal justice system; when faced with the possibility of a wrongful conviction, the system should be required to accelerate all processes.

Ms Folbigg is serving a 30-year prison sentence following her 2003 conviction for murdering three of her children, Patrick, Sarah and Laura, and for the manslaughter of firstborn Caleb. It comes after a group of 150 medical and scientific experts, including Nobel Prize laureates, called for her to be pardoned and released following the discovery that her two daughters carried a genetic mutation known as CALM 2 G114R.

Scientists believe that the mutation, which is pathogenic, was responsible for the deaths of her children.

This was known in December 2021. Folbigg’s lawyer Rhanee Rego then accused Speakman of failing to act on the evidence “which unequivocally supports innocence” without anything to contradict it. She told Lawyers Weekly that the Attorney is engaged in “state-sanctioned abuse”.

Kathleen Folbigg appears via video link during a convictions inquiry at the NSW Coroners Court, Sydney, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Picture: Joel Carrett Folbigg was convicted under “Meadow’s Law” which dictates that “one ­infant death is a tragedy, the second two is suspicious, and the third is murder, until proven otherwise”.

Meadow’s Law is junk science and has been proven to be so.

Mr Speakman said that he had decided to open the public inquiry after a scientific paper had concluded that the mutation could reasonably be the cause of Ms Folbigg’s children’s deaths.

“The conclusion of this paper was that this mutation was a reasonable explanation of the death by natural causes of Ms Folbigg’s two daughters and indeed, a likely explanation for those deaths,” he said.

Why the delay to launch a second inquiry?

Mr Speakman said that he had not pardoned Ms Folbigg outright because the new evidence needed to be tested by the legal system.

The expert testimony will be coming from some of the same scientists who have done the research; their testimony is already on Speakman’s desk. The ritual of another inquiry is a waste of time and money and extends Folbigg’s incarceration. The lawyers are grateful, though …

“I can understand some members of the public may shake their heads and all their disbelief about a number of chances Ms Folbigg has had,” he said. And why it is the justice system has allowed someone who’s been convicted of homicides, multiple homicides, another go?

Here is a nutshell, Speakman reveals the contemptible attitude of the callous and/or misguided politician. We can also understand why some members of the public may shake their heads and all their disbelief about a justice system that doesn’t deliver justice. The public should be outraged.

“But the evidence clearly, in my view, reaches the necessary threshold for some kind of intervention.” (Ed: His recommendation was prompted by a petition endorsed by three Nobel Laureates and more than 150 other scientists and science advocates,” say her support team.)

Given the vast volume of expert medical evidence that counters the conviction, well beyond the required threshold of reasonable doubt, the Attorney-General’s ‘intervention’ is too little, too late.

Last year, “To assist the Attorney-General’s understanding of the genetic research, the Australian Academy of Science offered a briefing by some of the world’s leading experts. Mr Speakman declined. Dr Cavanagh and Ms Rego then offered to discuss the case with him, but this was also declined. Ms Rego said this case, and responses from those responsible, “signals an unpreparedness to listen to science”.  

“We also need to demand that the legal system work with scientists more closely to allow the most up-to-date and reliable scientific information to be heard in our courts. It shouldn’t be a combative exercise at the post-conviction review level in circumstances in which lawyers, media and activists bring new evidence to light, that the state is unprepared to accept that a mistake is made,” Rego added.

UPDATE: JUNE 25, 2022: The first hearing of the inquiry was held on Friday, June 24, before retired NSW Supreme Court justice Tom Bathurst QC. “This inquiry is not an appeal against conviction,” Justice Bathurst said, cryptically in our view. Hearings will begin in November. This is the fast lane of justice…

 

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18 Responses to Second inquiry into 2003 Folbigg conviction – what’s the hurry?

  1. Don Wakeling says:

    The new Inquiry is raised in June. The actual hearing is November ( at least, of the same year). Well, after after almost two decades in prison, what does another five months matter ? Obviously not much to a powerbroker AG from ” The Shire”.

  2. Owen allen says:

    My signature, 😂🤤💀☠😨😂

    • andrew says:

      A complex sorta guy!

      • Owen allen says:

        Thanks Andrew, I am on the razors edge still, been a long time; I can not cope with every day life, I am scraping through, most importantly earning income by honest work.
        Their first method of attack is kill your income. If you overcome that they attack your head, and never give up. So WE NEVER GIVE UP. Thank you Andrew for sign, I have been inspired late today how to proceed in my personal life, living with the enemy as it is. I am knackered, and can not contribute anymore; because the last 2 blogs, pretty well tells my whole story about Tasmanian Corruption, without all details; so I do not resign; like everyone, we are hanging in eternity waiting for action for Sue Neill-Fraser and others within Australia.

        (Comment edited by moderator for relevance.)

  3. Owen allen says:

    Bolivia, San Pedro Prison; Tasmania is a State just like San Pedro.Like I said, a Feudal System. FREE SUE NEILL-FRASER. ROYAL COMMISSION TASMANIA.

  4. Owen Allen says:

    Excellent work.🤣

  5. Owen allen says:

    Excellent work. I thank you, pushing democracy to the limits by knowledgeable, fearless, resistors to injustice, because if democracy can not bring about justice in a democratic country, war, will be the result.
    Owen, It Will Never Be Over, Until It Is Over.
    RELEASE SUE NEILL-FRASER NOW, and the others falsely convicted and imprisoned…………whilst living in a tent in Hobart, after they destroyed me, and losing everything, in Tasmania, I lost my career commercial pilot (agricultural),
    my wife, my business, my taxi licence, and I was imprisoned for busking in a public place, for 7 months in Maximum Prison for breaking a restraining order.
    Hahaha. They are off the show. I say now, Justice or War.

  6. Donald says:

    I highly recommend that people read the response of the Australian Academy of Science. In particular the following paragraphs:

    ‘The Academy intends to assist the Honourable Chief Justice Bathurst by making available suitable experts to advise on the medical, genetic, diary and probabilistic evidence. Given the complicated nature of the evidence, this will likely involve recruiting experts from around the world.

    While the new genetic evidence in this case has already been peer reviewed by other scientists, the Academy appreciates that the legal community has its own methods for testing evidence.

    The Academy will seek to facilitate that process as best it can and looks forward to receiving the draft terms of reference for the Inquiry from the Attorney General so it can assist in defining the scope of the Inquiry.’

    https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/academy-responds-decision-hold-second-inquiry-convictions#:~:text=In%20March%20last%20year%2C%20over,immediate%20release%20of%20Kathleen%20Folbigg.

  7. Donald says:

    I don’t comment often but I do regularly read the blog.

    I won’t comment on whether Folbigg is innocent or guilty.

    The purpose of my comment is to express disappointment at some of the comments and to clarify the purpose of the second inquiry.

    The purpose of the second inquiry isn’t just to look at the new scientific evidence as will be presented by the defence legal team and its scientific/medical experts.

    The prosecution will present its own case as well. This will include both the expert science/medical experts as well as the circumstantial evidence (the diaries).

    Hence why a person with a legal background will oversee this inquiry (such like in the first inquiry).

    • andrew says:

      Interesting comment. Your description of the second enquiry is akin to a retrial.

      • Donald says:

        The second inquiry will run along the same way as the first inquiry. Read the decision of the first inquiry to see how it was run. Even Folbigg was questioned.

        • Don Wakeling says:

          Hopefully, former Judge Tom Bathurst will not need to add pages of addendum to his ultimate report, as the rightly criticised former Judge Bland. The addendum actually spelt out Bland’s own grossly distorted notions of established principals of criminal law in democratised societies. To say that, even if it is accepted that two of the deaths were not homicides ,then STILL, no re-opening of the Inquiry ? Surely, even the most muted legal intelligence tells us that we must never accept that arrogant , dangerous, challenge to our legal and moral standards.

  8. Brian Johnston says:

    Andrew you open the story by saying convicted child killer, should it not be convicted alleged child killer.
    I find it incredible that Speakman seeks to have science tested by the legal system.
    Only science can test science.

    • andrew says:

      Brian, the text in black is the new report in The Australian, not me…and it is self contradictory to say alleged AND convicted. But yes, wanting science tested by the legal system is absurd.

      • Owen allen says:

        Yes I agree, I could be an alleged, convicted, but I was an alleged, but falsly convicted. I was convicted of breathing Tasmanian air. without first bowing down, as so many people are. Release Sue Neill-Fraser Now. Royal Commission Tasmania.

  9. Pauline Chalmers says:

    Mr Speakman needs to be charged with the obstruction of justice. There are no words to describe his level of ignorance. Could he put himself into Ms Folbigg’s shoes. He is being very cruel virtuously standing on legal principles instead of objective truth.

  10. Williambtm says:

    This case matter stresses that a legal bias is extant in the justice system of at least 2 of our Australian State’s DPP Offices. The other State is Tasmania.

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